A South Carolina commission has approved the explanation that will be attached for voters as they decide in November if the state schools chief should continue being an elected position.
Legislators this year agreed to ask voters if the state education superintendent should switch to an appointed job. If voters agree, legislators would change the state Constitution so that the change could take effect after the 2022 election. While the referendum’s language was chosen by legislators, the Constitutional Ballot Commission voted Thursday to include an explainer with the language:
“A ‘Yes’ vote will require the Superintendent of Education be appointed by the Governor with the consent of the Senate.
A ‘No’ vote maintains the current method of electing a Superintendent of Education.”
The supplement will be included for voters casting their votes in November.
The commission is made up of Attorney General Alan Wilson, State Election Commission director Marci Andino, and Ashley Harwell-Beach of the Legislative Council, which drafts official state legislation.
“The amendment to the Constitution is very long and legalistic,” Wilson said. “The explanation is one short sentence. And basically when we meet, we want to distill this down to what is it you’re voting for? And what you’re voting for is do you want to elect the superintendent of education or do you want the governor to appoint the superintendent of education?”
If approved, the change would take effect after 2023 unless the individual holding office after November either resigns or dies. Current Education Superintendent Molly Spearman supports the change.
There has been an effort by legislators over the past decade to reduce the number of minor constitutional offices chosen by South Carolina voters. Voters in 2012 agreed to have the lieutenant governor run jointly with gubernatorial candidates rather than be elected separately. Two years later, they agreed to change the state Constitution so that South Carolina’s adjutant general is chosen by the governor rather than elected.